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During early infancy, common issues include crying and night waking. During the second half of infancy, additional issues include repetitive rocking movements, fears, and clinging behaviors. More problematic infant behaviors, include colic and protracted nighttime struggles.

Crying and Fussy Periods

The majority of healthy babies experience daily periods of crying for which there is no explanation. By 2 weeks of age, babies average 1-3/4 hours of crying per day. By 6 weeks, the duration of daily crying peaks to 3 hours. Crying then diminishes gradually, so that by 3 months the average duration is 1 hour per day.

Fussy crying is often abrupt in onset and intense in quality. It is more common during the evening hours.

Parents should be encouraged to respond to their infant's cry, be assured that a young infant cannot be "spoiled," and understand that most babies need cuddling during both fussy and nonfussy times. Young infants who are more frequently carried will cry less.

Teaching the baby to become a "self-calmer" (eg, helping the infant to find his thumb) may be helpful. When parents find that their routine fails to soothe the baby, they should be given permission to "put the baby down to cry for a few minutes" before reinitiating their attempts. The infant often needs to cry to discharge excess energy often alleviates parental guilt and anxiety.

The mother should be advised to get as much rest during the day as possible ("sleep when the infant sleeps") and to prepare for a potentially difficult evening. Parents should be encouraged to share child care responsibilities during the most stressful hours.

Behavior Problems in Infants

Strategies to Manage Fussy Periods During Early Infancy
Actions that Reduce the Amount of Crying and Fussing
1. Carry and cuddle frequently during both fussy and non-fussy periods.

      2. Respond promptly to baby's cry, and do not worry about "spoiling" the infant.

      3. Help the baby to become a self-soother. Example: Help baby to find his own thumb.

Routine Responses that May Soothe Babies
1. Pick up baby.

2. Change diaper if soiled.

3. Cuddle.

4. Offer feeding